Once overlooked by many, the secret is out about Lisbon. A lively city with a unique identity, you’ll quickly realize why it’s jumping up the charts of travel destinations. Whether you’re taking in some Fado music for your saudade (a nostalgic feeling with no equivalent in English – ask a Portuguese) or admiring the Manueline buildings, Lisbon’s individuality is undeniable and infectious. Like the best cities in the world, you’ll want to learn more about Portuguese culture and you may find yourself extending your stay again and again.
Best time to visit Lisbon
One reason that more and more travelers are heading to Lisbon is that there’s literally not a bad time to go. Each season offers a different experience and the right time for you will largely depend on what you want to get out of the trip.
March – June: Weather-wise, it’s hard to argue that any time of year is better than the spring. During March and April, the city will come into full bloom, culminating in the many festivals of May and June.
July – August: Like most places, summer is prime travel time in Lisbon, so it’s best to prepare for higher prices and more people. Even so, the city never feels too packed and a day or two at the beach can help to balance between exploring the town and rest.
September – November: With the tourism season done and over, Lisbon is an autumn traveler’s paradise. Pack a few layers to stay warm and you’ll have no problems discovering new places in every corner of the city.
December – February: If you’re trying to stay budget-conscious, Lisbon in winter is an excellent idea. Not only will you enjoy off-season prices, but the temperature is routinely in the 12-15 Celsius range, making it one of the warmer European winter destinations.
Things to do in Lisbon
Spend a Day in Belem – Packed to the gills with plenty to see and do, there’s a reason why Lisbon’s Belem neighborhood is on nearly every visitor’s list. Highlights of the area include the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT), Belem Cultural Center, and the famous Belem Tower.
Try Portuguese Cuisine – Ceviche at the aptly-named A Cevicheria is a must, as well as an egg tart (Pasteis de Nata) from Manteigaria. For serious foodies, seek out bacalhau (dried cod) or caldo verde, a unique soup made from potatoes, kale, and spicy chorizo.
Have a Drink at Pensao Amor – The only thing more colorful than the interiors of Pensao Amor is its past. Formerly a brothel and now a bar/performance space/vintage kitsch collection, it’s the perfect place to start a night out.
Stay at a Hostel – It may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s something special about Lisbon hostels. For years, the city’s hostels have won top honors for being the best in the world, due in no small part to a full slate of activities on tap every day.
Take a Day Trip to Sintra – If you need a break from the bustle of Lisbon’s city life, then Sintra is the antidote. Located 25 km away and with easy train connections, Sintra and its palaces were once the summer playground of royalty and still retain a majestic feel.
Events in Lisbon
NOS Alive – Featuring a rock-centric lineup speckled with other genres, the world’s top artists like Queens of the Stone Age, Two Door Cinema Club, and At the Drive-In all have slots booked for the July festival.
Nova Batida – A new Lisbon festival in September that’s trying to put its name on the map, now may be the time to go before it becomes too crowded. Mixing a wide variety of music, arts, yoga, and even surfing classes, Nova Batida aims to full experience, not just concert after concert.
Lisboa move me
Lisbon offers great public transportation options but the downfall of that is trying to figure out your way around the city using different apps for each transportation provider. It can sometimes feel like you are piecing together a puzzle. The Lisboa move-me app provides users with information in real time for different public transportation operators all in one place so you can easily maneuver your way around the city and find the route that best works for you depending on your location. This app is available for both ios and android users.